THE Secretary General of Pimeco, a small and medium-sized business association, has condemned the “stagnation” in some of the commercial areas of the Balearic Islands.

Àngel Pujol has blamed the poor planning of these run down shopping centres on too much dependence on seasonal tourism. He called yesterday on central and regional governments to provide an increase in subsidy for modernisation and reconversion.

The Secretary explained that certain areas of Majorca, such as Cala Millor, Port de Soller and Calvia are being adversely affected by “poor tourist seasons” and that some hotel owners, with their “all-inclusive” packages for visitors to the Islands, are “discouraging tourists from leaving their hotels”. He went on to say that districts such as Alcudia and Port of Pollensa are “holding out better” this summer due to an increase in the number of Spanish visitors, although July and August are the months when “the pinch is felt”. “There are already businesses which have opted for modernisation which has suited them well; but in other areas such as Artà, Inca, Manacor and Porreres, the need to undergo commercial change is yet to be addressed” said Pujol. “The government should help individual traders who want to give their businesses a change of image, and town councils should contribute to the upgrading of premises and image promotion” he said.

Pimeco's secretary general indicated it “would require” the regional ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy to increase by as much as 20 million euros, the subsidies available for commercial refurbishment in 2005.

Pujol announced that a meeting has been set up for 2 September where the small to medium-sized business associations from Catalonia, Valencia, Murcia, Madrid and the Balearics will be meeting with José Montilla, central government minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism.

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